State and friends honor fallen FBI agent, Pueblo native

Published: Feb. 7, 2021 at 5:52 PM MST
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PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - The state of Colorado is taking time to honor a fallen FBI agent after her tragic death this week.

Pueblo native Laura Schwartzenberger was killed in the line of duty last week in Florida serving a warrant in a child pornography case.

This week we are hearing the memories her loved ones hold close and how her community is honoring her.

Caring, determined and a warrior: the 43-year-old’s friends remember her fondly, and want everyone to “live like Laura.”

Flags across state were lowered to half-staff Saturday to honor the Coloradan, mom, friend and hero.

“Two members of law enforcement will not be going home to their families today because they laid down their lives in the ultimate sacrifice, making the communities they serve safer,” deputy chief of police Ronald Papier of the Miami Police Department said.

A suspect in a child pornography case opened fire on five agents as they executed a search warrant at a Florida apartment complex, killing Schwartzenberger and Daniel Alfin. Schwartzenberger, who grew up in Pueblo, was known for her passion for protecting children. A childhood neighbor and friend says her dedication to serving others was evident at a young age.

“She had the biggest heart you’ve ever had,” Joanne Riccillo-Griego said. ”If you ask anybody that went to school with her or did an extracurricular activity with her, everyone mattered. She didn’t care who you were, what you did, everyone mattered, and she made sure that you -- you felt welcomed.”

Riccillo-Griego says knowing her friend is gone now is devastating.

“I could, you know, pick up the phone and text her or Facebook message her, anything -- and she would respond.”

Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar says the city where she grew up mourns her too.

“We are always proud as Puebloans when one of our neighbors is able to do good nationwide or with an esteemed organization like the FBI. So this is tragic loss for us and for them and for the country, really,” he said.

A loss felt from her family, to her colleagues in the FBI and her childhood friends on Starlite Lane in Pueblo. That heavy loss is there -- but her shining example of a life protecting others lives on.

“She excelled in life because of that. Her determination and just her utter want always be good, do good. I mean, it’s evident,” Riccillo-Griego added.

Schwartzenberger is survived buy her husband and her two sons.

A memorial service for her was held Saturday in Florida.

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